Mappila - History and Cultural Relations

Mappila were evidently first converted to Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries A . D . by traders who arrived in Kerala. The arrival of the Portuguese began to disrupt Mappila life in 1498. The Portuguese sought both economic and religious domination. Economically, they sought a share of the spice trade and a sea connection with the Far East. Their religious goals stemmed from the desire of the pope to conquer Islamic and Hindu Societies. The Portuguese had direct orders to establish their authority over the region so that the Catholic religion, business, and culture would flourish in a harmonious system that would be good for the church, the king and the people. The Portuguese period resulted in a decline in the indigenous economic system, estrangement from Hinduism, and increased bitterness and tension between the Christians and Muslims; finally, the Mappila became militant against the Portuguese. The area came under the political control of the British in the 1790s, and they ruled Malabar from 1792 to 1947. Mappila leaders agreed to pay the British for their protection of the territory and to accept advice from an appointed British administrator; but in 1921 the Mappila resistance began, continuing until India won its independence in 1947.

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